Rio Ferdinand has been slammed by Newcastle fans for defending unpopular chairman Mike Ashley.
Former Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon is looking to buy the club from the Sports Direct supremo.
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But the £300million sale is yet to go through, despite Ashley stating he is willing to sell, as Kenyon attempts to add investors to the consortium.
It has led to manager Rafa Benitez growing more and more frustrated over transfer funding, even admitting it would be “a miracle” if the Magpies aren’t relegated.
But before Newcastle’s away game against Chelsea, former Manchester United defender Ferdinand showed some support for the embattled Ashley.
Speaking on BT Sport, Ferdinand said: “I understand Rafa’s frustrations because as a manager you want the ability to go out and spend money, but they’re not in that position.
“At the same time I understand Mike Ashley. Why is he going to spend more and more money – millions and millions of pounds – when he’s actually looking to sell the club?
“He’s got them to a point now where they’re back in the Premier League and they’re consolidating to a certain extent.
“He’s not going to go spend his own money. You wouldn’t go spend your own money now knowing you were trying to sell something unless you knew you were going to get that back.
“It’s not easy to sell a football club. He’s got a price and he’s going to wait to get it. He’s spent money at that football club, he’s just not going to spend it at this time.”
Newcastle fans regularly protest against their owner, yet continues to support the team by filling out St James’ Park most games.
But Ferdinand went on to say that the fans should lower their expectations.
He added: “All these fans, they do dream, and they dream big and I understand that.
“What are Newcastle’s aims? They can’t be aiming at being a Man Utd or a Man City. They’ve got to aim to be a Bournemouth.
“They’ve only just started spending. I’m not saying everything they’re doing is correct.
“What I’m saying is, I think Mike Ashley, you can’t hammer him and say that he should be spending when he wants to sell the club. You wouldn’t spend on your house when you want to sell it.”
Unsurprisingly, Ferdinand was slammed by Magpies fans on social media.
Lee McDonald wrote on Twitter that the 40-year-old was “off his head”, while Jordan Nailard described the ex-England man as being “deluded on so man levels”.
Liam Ross wrote that Ferdinand had “embarrassed himself” and Ben Dinnery called him a “clown”.
Oystein Solberg wrote: “I had no idea @rioferdy5 was this thick. Completely lost.”
Alan Collins wrote: “Rio Ferdinand overrated himself as a footballer. He’s now overrating himself as a pundit. Can’t stand him on BT.”
Many people also chose to point out that Ferdinand has previously worked with Ashley when he launched a clothing range with Sports Direct.
And others urged Ferdinand to “do some research”.
Many of the comments were filled with expletives that are not suitable to publish.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.
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